Editorial: Voter turnout dismal: 2017 a wake-up call?

We’re once again disappointed with the voter turnout in May’s provincial election.

While it’s looking like the numbers are going to be better than the last election in 2013, that’s not saying much.

Elections BC is estimating voter turnout this time at 61.5 per cent. In 2013 turnout was an even more paltry 57.1 per cent.

So approximately 172,000 more people came to the polls this time around, which is a good thing, of course, but is not anywhere near the number we hope would care enough to help decide the future of the province where they live.

Compare to the moaning after the recent French national election, where about 70 per cent of the population cast their ballots. And that was considered a horrible turnout, one of the lowest in their history.

We would be celebrating in this country if we could coax that many people from their indifferent complacency.

But perhaps this election will serve as a wake-up call.

The excuse uttered most often in defence of not voting is that someone thinks their vote doesn’t count.

That certainly wasn’t the case in May. Very small numbers of votes swung key ridings to one side or the other. The outcome of the election could have been very different with just a few more votes here or there. So if you didn’t vote and you have any feeling one way or another about who should be forming the government, you should remember this next time there’s an election and have your say, instead.

In the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo-North Cowichan ridings we gave you all the information you needed to make your choice in a quick and easy one-page format that took mere minutes to read. There’s no good excuse for not exercising your right, and seeing to your democratic responsibility to vote every few years.

The more people that vote, the more representative the government we have.

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